New York Liberty: Teresa Weatherspoon revolutionized women’s basketball

Teresa Weatherspoon, New York Liberty .Mandatory Credit: Ronald Martinez /Allsport
Teresa Weatherspoon, New York Liberty .Mandatory Credit: Ronald Martinez /Allsport /

The New York Liberty may have had a disappointing season but have plenty to celebrate as legendary guard Teresa Weatherspoon takes her place in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

It was 22 years ago the WNBA officially tipped off for the very first time in Los Angeles, California. The two teams featured were the LA Sparks and New York Liberty with an exciting guard by the name of Teresa Weatherspoon who would take the league and city by storm.

Weatherspoon was a five-time WNBA All-Star in her 8-year career in the league, leading the Liberty to multiple WNBA Finals appearances. She was a two-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year (1997, 1998) averaging over three steals per game in the process. Weatherspoon was also the first player to have 1,000 points and assists in the league’s history.

The Louisiana Tech University star from the 1980s has an NCAA championship, gold medal from the 1988 Olympics and honors from women’s basketball leagues around the world. The exciting part about the many accolades Weatherspoon has accumulated it was the energy and passion she brought every night on the court that made her an instant fan favorite.

The never quit attitude was a trademark of Weatherspoon and those late 90’s Liberty teams that came so close to winning a title. The iconic league moment happened because of Weatherspoon’s never say die efforts as she sank a half-court shot to win game two of the 1999 WNBA Finals. Weatherspoon spoke with the league website years later about the iconic moment and her mindset.

"“I was going to live or die with that shot, I didn’t want any of my teammates to have to live with missing that shot during the offseason. If it didn’t go in, I wanted to be the one to have to live with that.”"

The Liberty would fall short the next game, but it’s still an iconic sports memory many again haven’t forgotten. The exciting aspect of Weatherspoon’s game, especially in the WNBA was her ability to control a game from the defensive end while never averaging over ten points per contest in a season.

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Currently, Weatherspoon is still with the Liberty serving as the Director of Player and Franchise Development. She will be joined tonight with several other honorable inductees into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and will continue to carry the torch of the Liberty and women’s basketball.